A professor at a California university told students that a fetus was a “parasite” and directly compared the impact of being pregnant to the impact of having cancer.
The professor works at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine.
On one slide of the professor’s presentation, titled “parallels between fetuses and cancers,” there is a top section detailing the effects of pregnancy and comparing the effects to those of cancer.
It calls a fetus “a legitimate parasite,” and says that it “rapidly grows, invades, manipulates immunity of mother, and reshapes blood vessels.”
No joke, a friend just sent me this slide from her upper-level biology course.
I’m speechless. Create your own caption. pic.twitter.com/4sS6AvdRV1
— Dylan Griswold (@DylanPGriswold) April 25, 2019
Those four things also happen to a cancer patient, the professor wrote on the slide.
Dylan Griswold, a Twitter user, said that he was sent a picture of the slide by a friend. “I’m speechless,” he said.
According to Griswold, the professor later emailed the class to defend the slide.
“Most of you probably realize that my point was to show that mammals are especially prone to invasive cancers because mammals evolved invasive placentation. My point was not to indoctrinate you with the notion that fetuses are cancers,” the professor wrote.
Here is the explanation of the slide, provided by the presenting professor, who emailed this to his class. Granting for the sake of argument that this was his intention, the framing of content on the slide nonetheless dehumanizes prenatal human life. I invite your comments. pic.twitter.com/6Q8adPiMxT
— Dylan Griswold (@DylanPGriswold) April 27, 2019
The openly conservative Campus Reform blog said that it obtained a copy of the full Powerpoint and said it was titled, “Evolution of Human Disease.”
Neither the professor nor the university has commented on the presentation.
Griswold said he wanted to speak out about the slide.
“In a country where abortion on demand/till birth is becoming the norm, it becomes increasingly important to recognize the dignity of both the mother and her unborn child,” he told Campus Reform.
Other Twitter users also criticized the slide.
Though technically correct, its beyond sick and even more so that I only see what I guess is no longer future mothers sitting there being manipulated
— Samantha 🌺 Bronx Girl (@samantha3050) April 25, 2019
This is what happens when you mix politics and medicine: complete nonsense! A medical definition (parasite) isnt the same as a political one. Cloning & cancering have the same scientific base!
— Pedro Goncalves (@BjornIsMagnus) April 26, 2019
“This is not only crazy but it also shows how troubling our society is!” wrote one.
“Though technically correct, it’s beyond sick and even more so that I only see what I guess is no longer future mothers sitting there being manipulated,” wrote another.
While many criticized the slide, some said that medically the comparison of an unborn baby and cancer has been made before, linking to a 2009 study.
“Many proliferative, invasive, and immune tolerance mechanisms that support normal human pregnancy are also exploited by malignancies to establish a nutrient supply and evade or edit the host immune response. In addition to the shared capacity for invading through normal tissues, both cancer cells and cells of the developing placenta create a microenvironment supportive of both immunologic privilege and angiogenesis,” the researchers wrote.
“Systemic alterations in immunity are also detectable, particularly with respect to a helper T cell type 2 polarization evident in advanced cancers and midtrimester pregnancy. This review summarizes the similarities between growth and immune privilege in cancer and pregnancy and identifies areas for further investigation.”